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Technoromanticism - Chapter 2

Title: Technoromanticism


Summary: TezRyo Robot AU.

Rating: Definitely Mature.  For the usual culprits.

Author’s Note: Unrelated to this post, but Djokovic crashed and burned in the Brisbane International in the first round.  Terribly disappointing.  Nishikori Kei, you'd better make it to the final or I will cry!  T__T  But my seats for the second round were sweet.  I shall have photos and more details later.



Chapter 2.0

By Sinnatious

Tezuka didn’t quite understand how they made it out of the establishment without being caught, especially since they were carting a human-sized parcel with them. He had a notion that Kabaji might have had something to do with it, as the service desk robot’s power was switched off when they left the room. Either way, they managed to make it into the car without being stopped.
“Drive, Kabaji!”
They sped away from the scene of the crime into the dark of the night. Tezuka still wasn’t quite certain what to think. “We’re resorting to stealing now?”
Atobe crossed his arms. “If I could have bought it legally, I would have. But they weren’t for sale.”
“They’ll know it was us.”
“And without pictures of our faces, how are they going to know who we are? We never gave them our real names, and I paid them from a dummy account.”
Tezuka was starting to suspect that Atobe had planned this from the very beginning. “The service robot’s visual memory would be enough.”
Atobe twirled a small white cylinder in his hand. “I wiped it. And there were no other cameras in the lobby that could have got a clear shot.”
Unbelievable. “We’re never going to get away with this. We should just return it while we can.”
“We haven’t learnt anything yet!” Atobe snapped. “And we’ll be careful.”
Tezuka hadn’t approved of even industrial espionage, much less outright stealing, but in all honesty he did want to learn more about the bioroid. The AI in particular was a curiosity for him – did it contain multiple base packages with self-teaching supplements, or was it entirely progressive? His interest was enough to stay further protests. He cast a glance at the figure wrapped in a bed sheet next to them. “Hopefully it can’t call home.” They’d gagged it, but that meant very little.
“We’ll just take it somewhere where it won’t matter.” Atobe crossed his arms. In a matter of minutes, the car pulled up outside of a high-security multi-rise building. “We’re here.”
The building was unfamiliar to Tezuka. “Where-”
“It’s a safe house. The only other people in the company that know where it is are Kabaji, Oshitari and Inui. And Inui only found out because he went through the entire blueprint database for fun.” He handed him a card key. “I’m certain we got away, but to be safe you’ll have to do your investigations here until the course is clear. I’ll send Oshitari over with your personal effects.”
“What- I don’t have the equipment here to examine anything!” Tezuka argued. “I’d have to resort to disassembly!”
“Don’t – who knows what we’ll mess up if we do that? When it’s safe, you can bring it in and examine it in a proper full-sized scanner. In the meantime, you should be able to learn about the AI just from talking to it, right? The beloved buchou of the research department should be able to do that much.” Atobe opened the door. “Should I tell Oshitari to bring anything in particular?”
Barely holding back a defeated sigh, Tezuka just replied, “Everything on top of the bedside dresser.”
“It will be done.” He snapped his fingers. “Kabaji!”
The lumbering driver held out his arms for the sheet-clad bioroid. Tezuka clambered out of the car and picked it up himself. It was lighter than he expected, though probably still a bit much to move easily. They must have used extremely lightweight materials. “It’s fine, I’ll carry it.”
“Tezuka’s found a new puzzle,” Atobe remarked amusedly. “Let him.”
Kabaji wordlessly backed off and headed towards the building, holding open the doors for him. 
“I’ll be in touch. In the meantime, you know what to do.”
Tezuka nodded and headed inside as Kabaji locked the entrance behind him. The building was perhaps six stories high, and by the number on the cardkey it looked as though he was headed to the fifth floor. A short elevator ride later he reached the apartment, then slipped in the cardkey, shouldered open the door and flicked on the light. 
The apartment was modern and spacious, though somewhat sparsely furnished. It obviously hadn’t been used recently, as the room carried a faintly musty scent and a thin layer of dust covered everything. That wouldn’t do – if the bioroid inhaled too much dust it could mess up his connectors, and Tezuka didn’t have the tools on hand to clean it. Placing his burden carefully on the couch, he started cleaning away the worst of it – no easy task, as there weren’t any windows to open to air the place out. Fortunately there were plenty of ventilation fans.
After an hour of that he was interrupted by a knock on the door. He tensed briefly, hurriedly punching through the security system to bring up the video display of the entrance. It was Oshitari, accompanied by a boxy personal android that was weighed down with two suitcases and several boxes.
“Tezuka,” Oshitari drawled in greeting when the door opened, and gestured the robot inside. “Put them there.”
“Oshitari. Thank you for coming so late at night.”
“Just doing my job.” He pushed his glasses back up his nose. “If you’re here, Atobe’s done something reckless, hasn’t he?”
“He didn’t tell you?”
The blue-haired leader of Atobe Industries’ legal division just smiled wryly. “Perhaps it is better if I don’t know, though I can hazard a guess. The larger suitcase is yours. It has everything that was on the desktop side table, in the bathroom, and in the closet. I also picked up several books with bookmarks in them. Sorry for the intrusion of privacy.”
“It’s fine.” Tezuka didn’t have anything to hide. “The other suitcase?”
Oshitari’s smile grew slightly wider. “For some reason Atobe wanted clothing for a young male a size smaller than Hiyoshi.”
Oshitari had definitely guessed. “Thank you.”
He pointed to the other boxes that the android had just finished depositing in the kitchen. “The rest are household essentials, like linen and cleaning materials and food. Your laptop from work is in there as well, though you should know that outgoing communications from this building are blocked.”
A sensible precaution. It would stop any location beacons the bioroid might be sending out, but still allow Atobe to contact him on short notice.
“And that’s just about everything. I need to get back. If you need to make contact with any of us, key this number into the security system. There’s a direct line to the office.” Oshitari handed him a folded slip of paper. “Not to be used frivolously, of course.”
“Of course.”
“You’ll be okay in isolation? We can get Inui to drop by for company, if you want.”
“I’ll be fine.”
Oshitari smirked condescendingly. “Right. I forgot I was talking to the man who prefers the company of robots over humans.” Tezuka met his stare levelly. He waved it off. “My apologies. I didn’t mean anything bad by it. I’ll be back in a few days with more food.” Oshitari gestured to the android, which rolled faithfully back to his side.
“Sorry for the trouble. I’ll see you then.”
The door shut behind the lawyer, and Tezuka was left alone in a silent apartment once more. He supposed the bioroid really would be his only company for the next few days, but the thought didn’t really bother him. He preferred to be left alone when working - dealing with other people always complicated the process. Too many of them had motivations that he couldn’t understand.
Several minutes were spent sorting through all the boxes Oshitari brought and putting things away in the cupboards and fridge. He carted his suitcase into the bedroom, but brought the smaller one into the living room.
Right, that was everything sorted. It was getting late, but Tezuka was not yet tired. He might as well get to work.
He stared at the lump on the couch, and hesitantly reached out and pulled the sheet away, revealing the bioroid within. Golden eyes immediately snapped to his face, but the expression was otherwise somewhat blank. Tezuka didn’t know why he was expecting the robot to look annoyed – perhaps because it had displayed a rather convincing set of reactions so far. If anything, its docility after being stolen eased his concerns some. 
The first order of business was getting it dressed, he supposed – it felt somewhat awkward to have it just sitting there on his couch clad only in boxers. He rifled through the suitcase, uncomfortably aware of those eyes on his back. If it was a seed AI, then it was probably cataloguing all of his actions for later mimicry. He eventually withdrew a plain pair of black pants and a white t-shirt. It would do. There was probably underwear in there as well, but the current boxer shorts should be sufficient.
How was he supposed to do this? Gingerly, Tezuka picked up one unresponsive foot and manoeuvred it through the pant leg, bunching up the material, and then repeated the process with the other. He lifted both legs into the air to slide the pants past the knees, but couldn’t really progress any further. He supposed he’d have to stand it up to pull the pants up the rest of the way. Somewhat gingerly, he slid his hands under the armpits and pulled the bioroid up. The body sagged uselessly in his grasp, and Tezuka wound up having to balance it against his chest, holding it up with one hand while the other groped for the hem of the pants, tugging them roughly up to the hips. 
The bioroid made several muffled sounds of discontent, and Tezuka recalled that he hadn’t removed the gag yet. Atobe had been worried about the robot attempting to call out as they made off with it. Most models contained attention-drawing features in the event of theft, and one so advanced was bound to be able to call for help, so he’d stuffed his tie in its mouth to muffle it.
Carefully depositing it back on the couch, he buttoned the pants, then fetched the shirt. Holding one arm aloft, he slid it through the sleeve, repeating the process with the second arm before dragging it over the head. There. Tezuka already felt more at ease. Even knowing that he was dealing with a robot instead of a human didn’t help matters. It just looked so life-like. Tezuka had always enjoyed working on bioroids, but he wondered if when the time came to design a model to rival this one whether he’d enjoy it so much. It left him more uncomfortable than he anticipated.
Right. The gag. He pulled the tie out and took it to the laundry basket.
Halfway to the bedroom, though, a sound stopped him in his tracks. "-ezuka..."

Startled, Tezuka glanced at the robot.  It was talking again.

"-zuka."  It frowned, then tried again.  "Buchou."

How did it know his name?  He hadn't told it.


Of course. Atobe had called him by his name, and then later referred to his position as head of the department. Clearly the AI had a strong enough grasp of language to discern his name and title without being formally introduced. A base language package supplemented by the AI’s learning capabilities then. He probably ought to write that down. Tie forgotten, Tezuka instead fetched his laptop and brought it into the living room.

"Robotics.” It got the word right this time.  "Buchou."

Obviously 'buchou' was easier to get around than 'Tezuka'. It would have been a word in the dictionary. Pronouns probably required repeating to stick. "What is it?"



The expression on the face became frustrated.  Tezuka was once again mesmerised by how faithfully the expressions were reproduced. “Help.” 
“You need help? You’re calling for help?” Tezuka guessed. The latter seemed more likely – the AI seemed advanced enough to recognise that it had not been willingly taken from its registered owner; whoever that was.
“No… just…”
It seemed like it wanted to talk, so Tezuka encouraged it – without equipment it was only means he really had of reverse engineering anything. “Do you have a name or number you go by?”
“Nice to meet you, Ryoma. My name is Tezuka Kunimitsu. As you’ve already gathered, I’m the head of the research and development department of Atobe Industries’ robotics division.” He didn’t see any harm in divulging this information to the bioroid, as if it ever had the chance to pass it on they would have already been exposed as thieves anyway. 
Golden eyes stared at him at length. “Why?”
“Why did we take you away? You might not be aware, but you’re quite advanced. It’s industrial espionage.” Unlike Atobe, Tezuka didn’t think he should dress up the truth with flowery words.
An expression of realisation settled over its face. “You…. It… wrong.” There was a pause between each word, as though other words were supposed to be in there but the bioroid couldn’t decide what they should be in time.
“Yes,” Tezuka agreed heavily, starting to feel tired. “It is wrong. I don’t think it will mean much to you, given the circumstances, but I’m sorry.”
There was that frustrated expression again. Tezuka supposed it wasn’t terribly happy about its situation, and guessed that it was probably trying – and failing – to send a wireless message home. 

“Don’t even try,” he advised, settling himself onto the couch across the way. “Now that we’ve been introduced, maybe you can answer some questions for me. First of all, how long ago were you made?”
“…Made. Human.”
That was an odd proclamation.  “You were originally another robot refurbished into a bioroid?”
“Then…You were designed to be a prototype replica of a human?”
“No! Perfet… perfect human.”
Tezuka frowned. “I agree that you’re certainly the most convincing human bioroid made yet, but I would call the deception far from perfect. Thus, prototype.”
Ryoma glared. He must have offended it.
Trying a different tack, Tezuka asked, “What can you tell me about the person who made you?”
The glare intensified. No surprise. That sort of thing would be hidden well behind several layers of confidentiality barriers even for basic models. And Tezuka wasn’t the registered owner – he had no hope of accessing that information.
Needless to say, things didn’t progress very smoothly after that.


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 7th, 2009 10:19 am (UTC)
Noshikori Kei !!!!! WHO IS THIS.

Also will type up comment whe hand stops killing. D:
Jan. 7th, 2009 10:47 am (UTC)
*edits* DAMN I MIS-TYPED. (maybe it's contagious) It's actually Nishikori. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nishikori ONLY A CRAZY-FAST RISING STAR OF JAPANESE TENNIS. Seriously, jumped like 100 ATP ranks in his first year? And he's only 17? INSANE. He's been playing since he was five! I sort of wonder if maybe Kishimoto based Ryoma off him.
Jun. 10th, 2009 08:22 am (UTC)
He's HOT.
Jan. 7th, 2009 08:21 pm (UTC)
Wow...I'm so surprise that Tezuka went along with Atobe's idea of stealing Ryoma...this really remind me of the "Fifth Element"...the perfect human...I can't wait for the next chapter. ^__^
Jan. 8th, 2009 12:44 pm (UTC)
Fifth Element you say? Yet another well-know sci-fi piece I have never actually indulged in. Clearly I am missing out!
Jan. 7th, 2009 10:37 pm (UTC)
Robo!Ryoma is awesome! And Tezu trying to figure out whether or not stealing him is a good thing is also awesome. All in all, this chapter was very awesome.

Cannot wait for the next chapter (which I'm sure will be very awesome) 8D

Jan. 8th, 2009 12:44 pm (UTC)
Awesome! Glad you're liking it so far. Next chapter is Sunday (probably).
Jan. 8th, 2009 04:28 am (UTC)
Argh, I've been trying to type out my comment for the third time! *glares at screen* This time better work!


It’s a safe house. IT'S A LOVENEST. *g*

Inui = hilarious. :3

Ryoma is a perfect human? ;___; Or he thinks he's human, or wants to be human? ;___; I'm looking forward to when the confusion is set straight.

Sin, the robotfic is turning out pretty SHINY. ♥
Jan. 8th, 2009 12:46 pm (UTC)

If you're looking for a lack of confusion, this fic might not be for you. :3
Jan. 8th, 2009 02:44 pm (UTC)

The more discombobulated I am, the better it will be~

(10 DAYS LEFT. *___*)
Jan. 8th, 2009 06:42 am (UTC)
Totally still going with Ryoma as actually a human. It'd be a lovely twist on the Chobits-esque theme going on. XD

Also? This made my day:

“Drive, Kabaji!”


Jan. 8th, 2009 12:49 pm (UTC)
Heh heh, the Atobe and Kabaji dynamic writes itself. I can claim no credit. ^__^

Gosh, all this talk of Chobits is making want to watch it again, which is sort of weird, because I didn't enjoy that show that much the first time. o__o Yet I cannot deny its influence.
Jan. 9th, 2009 04:05 am (UTC)
I love how no matter what the dynamics never change. It's really funny to see Ryoma pulling the brat act already, even as a robot. *_*
Jan. 9th, 2009 06:30 am (UTC)
Poor Ryouma. ;_;

Did Karupin make him?

...flip. Better yet, did Ryouma make him? *______________________________*
Jan. 9th, 2009 06:33 am (UTC)
unrelated, but WHEN YOU GET TO 3.0, WILL YOU START GOING 3.1?
Jan. 9th, 2009 01:03 pm (UTC)

ALSO, YOU ARE ON CRACK. XD (But I already knew this.) <3
Jan. 13th, 2009 11:04 pm (UTC)
Jan. 14th, 2009 11:12 am (UTC)
Jan. 16th, 2009 05:52 am (UTC)

Jan. 10th, 2009 04:04 am (UTC)
*___* I like that Tezuka isn't a robot, haha. :D
Jan. 13th, 2009 11:04 pm (UTC)
MY WORDS EXACTLY (except I said them a chapter ago >>)
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )